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On June 21, 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting. The telecommunications portion of the agenda was brief, but the agenda included a number of Commissioner and Management Reports, and a tribute to President Peevey’s retiring Chief of Staff, Pete Arth. The telecommunications-related items on the agenda are discussed in further detail below.


REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS

  • Global NAPs’ CPCN Suspended for Failure to Comply with Commission Order Resolving Billing Dispute with Cox (Item 43, adopted 5-0) — This decision suspended Global NAPs’ Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in California based on the carrier’s failure to make payments to Cox California Telecom, as ordered by a previous Commission decision. In a previous order, the Commission had ruled against Global NAPs in a dispute against Cox regarding alleged wrongfully withheld termination fees. In that prior order, the Commission ordered Global NAPs to pay over $1 million to Cox. Global NAPs refused to pay that amount, stating that it did not have sufficient funds to make the payment.

    Commissioner Chong introduced this item, stating that this action is “important to maintaining the lawful regulatory structure that is important to the economic success” of the telecom industry. She further described the decision as “important, but not necessarily difficult.” Global NAPs’ failure to pay the amount ordered by the Commission is a clear violation of Section 702 of the Public Utilties Code. In discussing the decision, Chong noted that Global NAPs has been accused of similar conduct in other jurisdictions, and that similar allegations have been made by at least one other California carrier. Global NAPs’ CPCN will remain suspended until it complies with the Commission’s directives. The decision was adopted unanimously, and is available at the following link: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/FINAL_DECISION/69438.doc.

  • GVNI Granted Authority to Implement Caller-ID Customer Notification and Education Plan, Res. T-17090 (Item 22, adopted on consent agenda) — As a prerequisite to Global Valley Networks, Inc.’s implementation of Caller-ID, this Resolution authorizes a set of customer education procedures whereby GVNI will be informing its customers of the option of “call blocking,” a service that allows a customer to prevent a his or her Calling Party Number (“CPN”) from being transmitted to called parties where it can be picked up be Caller-ID devices. This Resolution finds that GVNI’s approach “meets the minimum requirements” for a Customer Notification and Education Plan, as those requirements have been articulated in previous Commission orders. Rather than conducting a customer awareness survey, as has been done in other cases, GVNI will be circulating a “blocking selection ballot” to customers giving them the option to select or decline call blocking. Once at least 70% of GVNI’s customers return those ballots, the company can begin offering Caller-ID. The resolution approving GVNI’s customer notification and education plan is available at the following link: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/FINAL_RESOLUTION/69449.doc.

  • Verizon Granted Authority to Issue Debt Securities (Item 34, adopted on consent agenda) — This decision grants Verizon’s application to issue, sell, and deliver $625,000,000 in Private Placement Notes. This decision also clarifies that Verizon remains exempt from the Commission’s competitive bidding requirements in connection with this debt. The Commission has previously found that such an exemption is appropriate where the principal debt amounts are greater than $200 million. The final decision approving Verizon’s application is available at the following link: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/FINAL_DECISION/69487.doc.


SIGNIFICANT HELD ITEM

  • Decision Regarding Alleged Improper Ex Parte Contacts by Cox and AT&T in Pending Adjudicatory Proceeding Regarding Warmline Compliance (Item 42, held by Simon until 7/12/07 for possible alternate) — This proposed decision would penalize Cox and AT&T $40,000 each for holding meetings with Commissioner advisors regarding matters that were allegedly at issue in pending adjudicatory proceeding filed against the carriers by UCAN. The carriers argue that the meetings were held to address a joint motion in the local competition docket, by which the carriers were seeking an industrywide forum for addressing the warmline issues underlying the complaint.


NOTES AND COMMISSIONER REPORTS

  • CPUC Founds “California Aspire, Achieve, Lead Pipeline Project” to Address Educational Pipeline and Diversity Issues (Item 48) — Commissioners Peevey and Simon introduced a new initiative to keep students of diverse backgrounds in school, so that they will have enhanced opportunities to pursue careers in the legal, finance, technology, and public policy arenas. The initiative will be called the “California Aspire, Achieve, Lead Pipeline Project,” and it will involve the creation of a non-profit organization designed to fund diversity projects. The project is currently supported by the CPUC and the California Public Employment Retirement System (“CalPERS”), and further support is being solicited from other agencies. Further information about this project is available at the following link: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/REPORT/69331.doc.

  • San Ysidro Bill Fair Praised as a Success — Consumer Services and Information Division Director Linda Serizawa and Public Advisor Karen Miller described the Commission’s most recent customer bill fair as a success. The fair was held in San Ysidro, which is in San Diego County. Approximately 300 customers attended, and a variety of carriers were present to provide assistance to customers, including SDG&E, Cox, AT&T, and several wireless carriers.

  • Noteworthy Personnel Changes — Commissioner Peevey’s Chief of Staff, Pete Arth, is retiring. A rousing tribute to his service occurred at the end of the Commission meeting. Nancy Ryan will take over as Commissioner Peevey’s Chief of Staff. Commissioner Simon also announced that Marzia Zafar is now his Chief of Staff.

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